Tomorrow night Barack Obama will give his fifth State of the Union Address. Like most second-term U.S. Presidents, his most recent job approval rating (Gallup) is low at 42 percent. So it's not surprising that in moments of the relative privacy of the Oval Office, President Obama displays body language consistent with this diminished public approval.
Touching one's neck, with rare exception (depending on the other nonverbal signs with which it is clustered), signals significant anxiety. This is but one example of what is termed a Manipulator, Adaptor or Pacifier (MAP). The president's full palmar contact with the neck is acts as a signal-amplifier.
Take note of the position of Mr. Obama's left hand. Despite the "Hollywood-ization" of men posing with hands in their pockets, it sends messages of withdraw. It's a significant beta signal of lowered confidence and lowered emotional comfort. A useful metaphor to characterize this body language is a turtle going in it's shell (aka "Turtle Retreat").
Pick up any other subtleties which up-regulate or down-regulate POTUS's anxiety level?
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